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Australian Film and Literature (COMM 3048)
Semester 2 / 2011


form y separately published work icon Puberty Blues Margaret Kelly , ( dir. Bruce Beresford ) Sydney : Limelight Productions , 1981 Z826184 1981 single work film/TV (taught in 3 units)

Debbie and Sue are accepted into Greenhill Beach's gang, an elite group of teenagers occupying a particular stretch of Cronulla beachfront. As surfie groupies, Debbie and Sue find out that they are expected to submit to male whims and play out 'strange' rituals, such as not eating or going to the bathroom when a boy is around. The girls' life mainly consists of doing what everyone else does: watching the boys surf, having sex with them (in the back seat of cars and at home-alone parties), and getting drunk. The narrative maintains a humorously ironic distance from the awfulness of the scene, particularly through the use of narration. The boys, though portrayed as collectively dominant, are individually consigned to the margins, while Debbie and Sue ultimately break out of the confines of male-imposed rules.

form y separately published work icon Japanese Story Alison Tilson , Fitzroy : Gecko Films , 2002 (Manuscript version)x401999 Z1498780 2002 single work film/TV (taught in 10 units)

'Sandy, a geologist, finds herself stuck on a field trip to the Pilbara desert with a Japanese man she finds inscrutable, annoying and decidedly arrogant. Hiromitsu's view of her is not much better. Things go from bad to worse when they become stranded in one of the most remote regions on earth. JAPANESE STORY is a journey of change and discovery for its two lead characters.'

Source: Screen Australia.

form y separately published work icon Somersault More Than Scarlet Cate Shortland , ( dir. Cate Shortland ) Australia : Red Carpet Productions , 2004 Z1153215 2004 single work film/TV (taught in 2 units)

'A visually haunting story of an adolescent girl's discovery of the difference between sex and love in the winter landscape of an Australian ski resort town.'

Source: Screen Australia.

form y separately published work icon The Dish Santo Cilauro , Tom Gleisner , Jane Kennedy , Rob Sitch , ( dir. Rob Sitch ) Australia : Dish Film , 2000 Z1450608 2000 single work film/TV (taught in 3 units)
form y separately published work icon The Castle Rob Sitch , Santo Cilauro , Tom Gleisner , Jane Kennedy , ( dir. Rob Sitch ) Australia : Working Dog Productions , 1997 Z1542696 1997 single work film/TV humour (taught in 4 units)

The Kerrigan family's home is situated right beside one of Melbourne's airports, but they don't mind. In fact, they love living there. When the government and airport authorities announce that they are buying up all the properties in the neighbourhood in order to make way for airport extensions, Darryl decides to defend his right to live in his beloved home. The Castle is the story of how they take on the authorities, all the way to the High Court.

form y separately published work icon Gallipoli David Williamson , ( dir. Peter Weir ) Sydney : Associated R & R Films , 1981 Z948654 1981 single work film/TV (taught in 11 units)

The narrative begins in Western Australia in 1915 and follows the paths of Archie Hamilton and Frank Dunne, before and after their enlistment in the Australian Imperial Forces. Hamilton is the patriotic son of a grazier and Frank Dunne is a drifter with no great desire to fight for the British Empire. They meet as runners in an outback footrace and become best mates. After training in Egypt, they land at Gallipoli, just as the great Allied assaults of August 1915 are to begin.

Source: Australian Screen.

form y separately published work icon Night Cries : A Rural Tragedy Tracey Moffatt , Jimmy Little (composer), ( dir. Tracey Moffatt ) Alice Springs : Chili Films , 1989 Z142554 1989 single work film/TV (taught in 12 units)

A middle-aged Aboriginal woman nurses her old white mother. During her tending of the old woman, she expresses her frustrations and previously suppressed anger, her own need for warmth and love, and her personal loneliness. Her memories and dreams invade her nerve-fraying routine until the old woman dies and she begins to experience an immense sense of loss.

In the ABC Radio National program, It's Not A Race in May 2017, Marcia Langton notes that Night Cries is the retelling of Jedda as a horror story.

y separately published work icon Of Muse, Meandering and Midnight Samuel Wagan Watson , St Lucia : University of Queensland Press , 2000 Z668862 2000 selected work poetry (taught in 2 units) 'In a voice youthful, passionate and questioning, these poems reflect on growing up and on letting go; on urban dwellers in love and lust; and on the artist and his Murri community. The politics are unguarded and often amusing, and the language is playful, rhythmic and evocative. Ghosted by ancestors and muses, Watson's cityscape interweaves past and present.' (Source: Publisher's blurb)
y separately published work icon The Secret River Kate Grenville , Melbourne : Text Publishing , 2005 Z1194031 2005 single work novel historical fiction (taught in 69 units)

'In 1806 William Thornhill, a man of quick temper and deep feelings, is transported from the slums of London to New South Wales for the term of his natural life. With his wife Sal and their children he arrives in a harsh land he cannot understand.

'But the colony can turn a convict into a free man. Eight years later Thornhill sails up the Hawkesbury to claim a hundred acres for himself.

'Aboriginal people already live on that river. And other recent arrivals - Thomas Blackwood, Smasher Sullivan and Mrs Herring - are finding their own ways to respond to them.

'Thornhill, a man neither better nor worse than most, soon has to make the most difficult choice of his life.

'Inspired by research into her own family history, Kate Grenville vividly creates the reality of settler life, its longings, dangers and dilemmas. The Secret River is a brilliantly written book, a groundbreaking story about identity, belonging and ownership.' (From the publisher's website.)

y separately published work icon Benang : From the Heart Kim Scott , Fremantle : Fremantle Press , 1999 Z135862 1999 single work novel (taught in 31 units) 'Oceanic in its rhythms and understanding, brilliant in its use of language and image, moving in its largeness of spirit, compelling in its narrative scope and style, Benang is a novel of celebration and lament, of beginning and return, of obliteration and recovery, of silencing and of powerful utterance. Both tentative and daring, it speaks to the present and a possible future through stories, dreams, rhythms, songs, images and documents mobilised from the incompletely acknowledged and still dynamic past.' (Publisher's website)
y separately published work icon Lilian's Story Kate Grenville , Sydney : Allen and Unwin , 1985 Z1039066 1985 single work novel (taught in 5 units)

Madness, cruelty and sexuality permeate the house where she grew up, but Lilian's sights are set on education, love and - finally - her own transcendent forms of independence. Lilian Singer, who starts life at the beginning of the twentieth century as the daughter of a prosperous middle-class Australian family and ends it as a cheerfully eccentric bag-lady living on the streets, quoting Shakespeare for a living.

y separately published work icon Does My Head Look Big in This? Randa Abdel-Fattah , Sydney : Pan Macmillan Australia , 2005 Z1208243 2005 single work novel young adult (taught in 4 units) 'Welcome to my world. I'm Amal Abdel-Hakim, a seventeen year-old Australian-Palestinian-Muslim still trying to come to grips with my various identity hyphens. It's hard enough being cool as a teenager when being one issue behind in the latest Cosmo is enough to disqualify you from the in-group. Try wearing a veil on your head and practising the bum's up position at lunchtime and you know you're in for a tough time at school. Luckily my friends support me, although they've got a few troubles of their own. Simone is blonde and gorgeous but has serious image issues and Leila's really intelligent but her parents are more interested in her getting a marriage certificate that her high school certificate! And I thought I had problems...' (Source: back cover).
y separately published work icon Unpolished Gem Unpolished Gem : My Mother, My Grandmother, and Me Alice Pung , Melbourne : Black Inc. , 2006 Z1301370 2006 single work autobiography (taught in 6 units)

Unpolished Gem tells the story of growing up with a Chinese-Cambodian family in Australia, Alice dives headfirst into schooling, romance and the getting of wisdom. Meanwhile, her mother becomes an Aussie Battler - an outworker, that is, her father starts up a chain of electrical appliance stores, and her grandmother blesses Father Government every day for giving old people money. (Back cover blurb).

y separately published work icon Two Shanes Lee Tulloch , Melbourne : Text Publishing , 2001 Z819734 2001 single work novel humour romance (taught in 2 units)

'Two Shanes is Lee Tulloch’s best and funniest novel. A brilliantly plotted romantic comedy that readers won’t be able to put down, it tells the story of two Australians living in New York, a surfer named Shane Dekker, and Cheyne Burdekin, an aspiring actor. The lives of these strangers overlap in hilariously unpredictable ways, especially after Shane meets the dark-haired Finley Rule in a surf shop, and Cheyne’s old flame Avalon jets in from Brisbane.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

form y separately published work icon Kenny Clayton Jacobson , Shane Jacobson , ( dir. Clayton Jacobson ) Melbourne : Thunderbox Films , 2006 Z1793972 2006 single work film/TV (taught in 2 units)

'From the biggest festival to the smallest church social, Kenny Smyth delivers porta-loos to them all. Ignored and unappreciated, he is one of the cogs in society's machinery; a knight in shining overalls taking care of business with his faithful 'Splashdown' crew.

Follow Kenny as he tackles every septic challenge that comes his way, culminating in a pilgrimage to that Mecca of waste management, the International Pumper and Cleaner Expo in Nashville Tennessee - or as Kenny affectionately calls it, "Poo HQ".

One of Australia's roughest diamonds juggles family tensions, fatherhood and sewage with charm, humour and unflinching dignity.'

Source: (Sighted 27/7/11)

form y separately published work icon They're a Weird Mob Sono Strana Gente Richard Imrie , ( dir. Michael Powell ) United Kingdom (UK) Australia : Williamson-Powell International , 1966 Z553582 1966 single work film/TV humour (taught in 6 units)

Italian sports journalist Nino Culotta is lured to Sydney during the mid-1960s to work for his brother's new magazine for migrant Italians. When he arrives in the country, however, Nino finds out that there is no magazine and that his brother has taken off with the investors' cash. Left in the lurch is his brother's business partner, Kay Kelly. Nino vows to pay off his brother's debt and gets a job as a builder's labourer. In doing so, he learns how to talk, act, and drink like an Australian male. His numerous attempts to woo Kay are repeatedly rebuffed with humorous results, but in the end she falls in love with him. Nino's introduction to the country and its culture finds him bemused but ultimately confident that he has a future here.

The Australian Centre for the Moving Image suggests this film is 'very much a product of the assimilationist view dominating Australian immigration policy at the time'.

form y separately published work icon Newsfront Phillip Noyce , Bob Ellis , David Elfick , Philippe Mora , Anne Brooksbank , ( dir. Phillip Noyce ) Palm Beach : Palm Beach Pictures , 1978 Z1323552 1978 single work film/TV (taught in 6 units)

Beginning in Australia in the late 1940s, when movie theatres were the only source of audiovisual news coverage, the narrative follows the exploits of Len Maguire and his young sidekick Chris as they cover the big news stories for the Cinetone newsreel company. Len is a doggedly dependable and ever-cautious senior cameraman, trapped in a world of changing values. Len always knows the right thing to do, but becomes troubled as his marriage falters, his job becomes threatened by the arrival of television, and Cinetone is taken over and its work marginalised. Len's loyalties to the Catholic Church, the Labor Party, and his family are juxtaposed against both his brother/rival cameraman Frank--who sells out his values, abandons his responsibilities, and heads off to success in the USA--and his cocky young assistant, Chris.

The first feature film for Phillip Noyce, Newsfront also depicts the increasing changes to the Australian cultural and political landscape, tracing social shifts from the first waves of European post-war immigration through to the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne.

form y separately published work icon Harry's War Richard Frankland , ( dir. Richard Frankland ) Torquay : Golden Seahorse Productions , 1999 Z862513 1999 single work film/TV (taught in 2 units)

Harry Saunders's decision to join the army during the Second World War and fight for his country is largely motivated by his desire to fight for the rights of Indigenous people. Harry hopes that in fighting alongside the white citizens of Australia, he will help Indigenous people to eventually win citizenship. Prejudice and racism, however, are not so easily overcome, as Harry soon finds out.

(Source: Australian Screen.)

form y separately published work icon Jedda Jedda The Uncivilised Charles Chauvel , Elsa Chauvel , ( dir. Charles Chauvel ) Australia : Charles Chauvel Productions , 1955 Z1382736 1955 single work film/TV (taught in 13 units)

'On a lonely cattle station in the Northern Territory, a newly born Aboriginal baby is adopted by a white woman in place of her own child who has died. The child is raised as a white child and forbidden any contact with the Aborigines on the station. Years later, Jedda is drawn by the mysteries of the Aboriginal people but restrained by her upbringing. Eventually she is fascinated by a full-blood Aboriginal, Marbuck, who arrives at the station seeking work and is drawn to his campfire by his song. He takes her away as his captive and returns to his tribal lands, but he is rejected by his tribe for having broken their marriage taboos. Pursued by the men from Jedda's station and haunted by the death wish of his own tribe, Marbuck is driven insane and finally falls, with Jedda, over a cliff.'

(Synopsis from the Australian Film, Television and Radio School website,

y separately published work icon Watershed Fabienne Bayet , Alice Springs : IAD Press , 2005 Z1204865 2005 single work novel (taught in 8 units)

'A haunting novel of loss and redemption, Watershed tells with great poignancy and ironic insight the story of Eve and her husband Marconi, whose son David disappeared one day in the Murray River. A novel of contemporary Australian life.' (Source: TROVE)

y separately published work icon Growing up Asian in Australia Alice Pung (editor), Melbourne : Black Inc. , 2008 Z1496451 2008 anthology autobiography short story poetry interview extract (taught in 4 units) 'This is an anthology of writing about what it is really like to grow up Asian-Australian. Including contributions from established writers, public figures and exciting new talents, this diverse and unpredictable collection throws out the cliches and takes readers behind the stereotypes.' (Publisher's blurb)
y separately published work icon Sweet Guy Jared Thomas , 2002 Alice Springs : IAD Press , 2005 Z1008736 2002 single work novel young adult (taught in 4 units) 'If Michael Sweet thought his early teens were difficult he's in for a shock now he's eighteen and ready to start uni. The pressures of study making new friends and moving into a co-ed college are only the beginning. When Michael sets out to woo the girl of his dreams he gets more than he bargained for. It makes dealing with his drop-kick father and the antics of his madcap surfer mate Angus seem a breeze. But life is about to dish up some surprises that help Michael meet the challenges head on.' Source: Publishers blurb. (Sighted 28/07/2009).
y separately published work icon Sixty Lights Gail Jones , London : Harvill Press , 2004 Z1136231 2004 single work novel historical fiction (taught in 15 units)

'Sixty Lights is the captivating chronicle of Lucy Strange, an independent girl growing up in the Victorian world. From her childhood in Australia through to her adolescence in England and Bombay and finally to London, Lucy is fascinated by light and by the new photographic technology. Her perception of the world is passionate and moving, revealed in a series of frozen images captured in the camera of her mind's eye showing her feelings about love, life and loss. In this confident, finely woven and intricate novel Jones has created an unforgettable character in Lucy; visionary, gifted and exuberant, she touches the lives of all who know her.' (Publication summary)

y separately published work icon Dispossession, Dreams & Diversity: Issues in Australian Studies David Carter , Frenchs Forest : Pearson Education Australia , 2006 Z1258484 2006 multi chapter work criticism (taught in 12 units) This work introduces key topics and questions about Australia as a society, a culture and a nation. It contains a useful chapter on Australian modernities, which deals in part with literature in the early to mid 20th century.


Australian literature and cinema which dramatises questions of gender, sexuality, race, class, multiculturalism, and history; identity and subjectivity in Australian literature and cinema - Indigenous voices, migrant experience, feminist texts; historiography; publishing, television and cinema industries; industry contexts; exploration of audience, medium, and the 'popular'; cultural landscape in literature and film; the role of Indigenous writers and filmmakers in 'post-colonial' literature and cinema.


Book Review (500 words)

Journal (1500 words) : 2 x 500 word discussions of chosen texts + 1 x 500 word creative response to chosen text.

Essay (2500 words)

Other Details

Offered in: 2010, 2009
Levels: Undergraduate